The Fantasy Sessions is the debut album for 81-year-old Bobby Sharp. He is a well known songwriter, whose "Unchain My Heart" was made famous by the great Ray Charles. The songs on this album were written by Sharp in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. This album has a remarkable story behind it. Sharp had not written a song in 28 years when he met producer Natasha Miller. With her help, Sharp took songs he wrote years ago and recorded them on The Fantasy Sessions.
On this album, Sharp sings his own compositions while also playing piano. Even at 81, Sharp’s voice is strong and confident and his piano playing is exceptional. His singing is relaxed and down to earth. He does not sing with an expansive range, but the rhythms he uses distinguishes his singing from other jazz singers.
The band provides nice support. The arrangements have harmonies that mix together well with Sharp’s singing. On four of the songs, Sharp only plays piano. These songs, with the addition of some string players, have a nice blend that is relaxing. The instrumental solos from Rob Roth on saxophone and Jeff Lewis on trumpet and flugelhorn provide a nice contrast to Sharp’s singing and the dense chordal arrangements.
Overall, The Fantasy Sessions is a great CD that showcases the jazz singing and piano playing of Bobby Sharp. I would recommend this CD to whoever likes jazz singers and jazz from the 50s and 60s.